Magistrates in Hampshire have issued a stern reminder that alcohol and equestrianism do not mix, by handing down a fine of £2,500 to a man found guilty of overdriving his horse Sylvester while binge drinking with friends.
Kevin Walsh from Emsworth was caught by police driving his horse-drawn vehicle recklessly during a pub crawl last June on the night England were knocked out of the World Cup by Brazil.
Officers pursued Sylvester after they saw the carriage hit a bus shelter, causing startled onlookers to leap for safety, as sparks flew from beneath the horse’s feet.
When the vehicle was abruptly stopped in front of a brick wall, the driver was thrown to the ground, while his two passengers fled the scene. Sylvester was sweating profusely and had one hoof lifted off the ground in pain.
Local vet Gavin Lawrie was called to attend Sylvester and he found two shoes were missing. The nails were still in his hooves, implying the shoes had been ripped off in the chase.
Gavin dressed the horse’s feet and administered a strong painkiller to ease his suffering. The vet later told magistrates the injuries were consistent with Sylvester being driven at high speed over a long distance.
The defendant was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay legal costs of £2,500.
RSPCA inspector Cora Moore, who was called to the scene by police, said: “This poor horse was being driven into the ground by Walsh and his friends – just so they could go on a pub crawl.
“The horse was in great distress. We are pleased that the magistrates have taken this matter seriously.”